After the breakup of the Union the team was transformed into the CIS national football team (a formality name for a team of the non-existing country of Soviet Union). FIFA considers the CIS national football team (and ultimately, the Russia national football team) as the Soviet successor team allocating its former records to them (except for the Olympic records which are not combined due to the IOC policy); nevertheless, a large percentage of the team's former players came from outside the Russian SFSR, mainly from the Ukrainian SSR, and following the breakup of the Soviet Union, some such as Andrei Kanchelskis from the former Ukrainian SSR, continued to play in the new Russia national football team.
The Soviet Union failed to qualify for the World Cup only twice, in 1974 and 1978, and attended seven finals tournaments in total. Their best finish was fourth in 1966, when they lost to West Germany in the semifinals, 2–1. The Soviet Union qualified for five European Championships, winning the inaugural competition in 1960 when they beat Yugoslavia in the final, 2–1. They finished second three times (1964, 1972, 1988), and fourth once (1968), when, having drawn with Italy in the semi-final, they were sent to the third place playoff match by the loss of a coin toss. The Soviet Union national team also participated in number of Olympic tournaments earning the gold medal in the 1956 and 1988. The Soviet team continued to field its national team players in Olympic tournaments despite the prohibition of FIFA in 1958 to field any national team players in Olympics. However, in 1960 and in 1964 the Soviets were fielding its second national team.
|Association||Football Federation of the Soviet Union|
|Most caps||Oleg Blokhin (112)|
|Top scorer||Oleg Blokhin (42)|
|Highest||1 (July 1960)|
|Highest||1 (1963–65, 1966, 1983-84, 1985–86, 1987, 1988)|
| Soviet Union 3–0 Turkey |
(Moscow, Soviet Union; 16 November 1924)
Last internationalCyprus 0–3 Soviet Union
(Larnaca, Cyprus; 13 November 1991)
| Soviet Union 11–1 India |
(Moscow, Soviet Union; 16 September 1955)
Finland 0–10 Soviet Union
(Helsinki, Finland; 15 August 1957)
| England 5–0 Soviet Union |
(London, England; 22 October 1958)
|Appearances||7 (first in 1958)|
|Best result||Fourth place, 1966|
|Appearances||6 (first in 1960)|
|Best result||Champions, 1960|
The first international match played by a Soviet team came in September 1922, when the Finnish Workers' Sports Federation football team toured Russia. The Soviet XI scored a 4–1 victory over the Finns in Petrograd. This was also the first international contact for Soviet sports after the 1917 October Revolution. In May 1923, the Soviet team visited Finland and beat the Finnish squad 5–0. The first match against national team was played in August 1923, nine months after the establishment of the Soviet Union, when a Russian SFSR team beat Sweden 2–1 in Stockholm.
The first formally recognised match played by the Soviet Union took place a year later, a 3–0 win over Turkey. This and a return match in Ankara were the only officially recognised international matches played by the Soviet Union prior to the 1952 Summer Olympics, though several unofficial friendlies against Turkey took place in the 1930s. The 1952 Olympics was the first competitive tournament entered by the Soviet Union. In the preliminary round, Bulgaria were defeated 2–1, earning a first round tie against Yugoslavia. Before the match, both Tito and Stalin sent telegrams to their national teams, which showed just how important it was for the two head of states. Yugoslavia led 5–1, but a Soviet comeback in the last 15 minutes resulted in a 5–5 draw. The match was replayed, Yugoslavia winning 3–1. The defeat to the archrivals hit Soviet football hard, and after just three games played in the season, CDKA Moscow, who had made up most of the USSR squad, was forced to withdraw from the league and later disbanded. Furthermore, Boris Arkadiev, who coached both USSR and CDKA, was stripped of his Merited Master of Sports of the USSR title.
The Soviet Union entered the World Cup for the first time at the 1958 tournament, following a qualification playoff against Poland. Drawn in a group with Brazil, England and Austria, they collected three points in total, one from England and two from Austria. Soviet Union and England went to a playoff game, in which Anatoli Ilyin scored in the 67th minute to knock England out. The Soviet Union were then eliminated by the hosts of the tournament, Sweden, in the quarter-finals.
The inaugural European Championships in 1960 marked the pinnacle of Soviet footballing achievement. Easily progressing to the quarter-finals, the team were scheduled to face Spain, but due to the tensions of the Cold War, Spain refused to travel to the Soviet Union, resulting in a walkover. In the semi-final, the Soviet team defeated Czechoslovakia 3–0 and reached the final, where they faced Yugoslavia.
In the final, Yugoslavia scored first, but the Soviet Union, led by legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin, equalized in the 49th minute. After 90 minutes the score was 1–1, and Viktor Ponedelnik scored with seven minutes left in extra time to give the Soviets the inaugural European Championship.
In the 1962 World Cup, the Soviet team was in Group 1 with Yugoslavia, Colombia and Uruguay. The match between Soviet Union and Colombia ended 4–4; Colombia scored a series of goals (68’, 72’, 86’). Star goalkeeper Lev Yashin was in poor form both against Colombia and Chile. His form was considered as one of the main reasons why Soviet Union team did not gain more success in the tournament.
In 1964, the Soviet Union attempted to defend their European Championship title, defeating Italy in the last 16 (2–0, 1–1) and to reach the quarter-finals. After two matches against Sweden, the Soviet side won on aggregate (1–1, 3–1). The Soviet Union team went to Spain where the finals were held. In the semi-finals, the Soviet Union defeated Denmark 3–0 in Barcelona but their dreams of winning the title again were dashed in the final when Spain, the host, scored a late goal, winning a 2-1.
The 1966 FIFA World Cup was the tournament which the Soviet Union team reached their best result by finishing in fourth place. Soviet Union was in Group 4 with North Korea, Italy and Chile. In all three matches, the Soviet Union team managed to defeat their rivals. The Soviet team then defeated Hungary in the quarter-finals thanks to the effective performance of their star, Lev Yashin but their success was ended by two defeats on 25 and 28 July, against West Germany in the semi-finals and Portugal in the third place play off match, respectively. The 1966 squad was the second best scoring Soviet team in the World Cup history, with 10 goals.
For the Euro 1968, the qualification competition was played in two stages; a group stage (taking place from 1966 until 1968) and the quarter-finals (played in 1968). Again, only four teams could reach the finals which were held in Italy. The semi-final match between Soviet Union and Italy ended 0–0. It was decided to toss a coin to see who reached the final, rather than play a replay. Italy won, and went on to become European champions. On 8 June 1968, the Soviets were defeated by England in the third place match.
The 1970 World Cup started with the match between Mexico and the Soviet Union. The Soviet team became the first team to make a substitution in World Cup history in this match. Other opponents in their group were Belgium and El Salvador. The Soviet team easily qualified to the quarter-final where they lost against Uruguay in extra time. This was the last time the Soviet Union reached the quarter-finals. They were able to obtain 5th place in the rankings which FIFA released in 1986.
The final tournament of the 1972 European Championships took place between 14 and 18 June 1972. Again, only four teams were in the finals. Soviets defeated Hungary 1–0, a second half goal. The final was between West Germany and Soviet Union. The match ended with a victory of the German side thanks to the effective football of Gerd Müller. This tournament was one of the two tournaments in which the Soviet Union finished as runner-up.
After being runners up at Euro 1972, the rest of the 1970s were bleak for the Soviets, who were disqualified from the 1974 World Cup as a result of refusal to play Chile in the aftermath of the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, and failed to qualify for the 1978 World Cup or the 1976 and 1980 European Championships.
The 1982 World Cup was the Soviet Union's first major tournament appearance for a decade. The Soviet Union was in Group 6 with Brazil, Scotland and New Zealand. Goals by Socrates and Eder marked the defeat of the Soviet side against Brazil in the first group match (even though it was a very hard match for the Brazilians), and they were eventually eliminated in the second round by finishing the group in second place, when they defeated Belgium only 1–0 and drew against Poland with an 0–0 result. In 1984, the Soviets again failed to qualify for the European Championships, but succeeded in qualifying for the 1986 World Cup. Soviet Union were in Group C with Hungary, France and Canada. The Soviets used Irapuato, Guanajuato as their training ground in the World Cup.
The Soviet team enjoyed a successful group stage by scoring nine goals and finishing the group in first place. Ultimately, however, they lost to Belgium 3-4 after extra time in the round of 16. Despite their poor performance in the cup, this team was the best scoring Soviet team in World Cup history, with 12 goals. After failing to qualify for three consecutive European Cups (1976, 1980, 1984), the Soviets managed to qualify for the 1988 competition, the last time the Soviet Union national football team took part in the European Football Championship. The finals were held in West Germany, with eight teams participating. Soviet Union finished Group B as leaders above the Netherlands and defeated Italy 2-0 in the semi-final. In the final against the Netherlands, another team from Group B, the Netherlands won the match with a clear score to be crowned European champions.
The final major championship contested by the Soviet team was the 1990 FIFA World Cup, where they were drawn in Group B with Argentina, Romania and Cameroon. The only success for the Soviets came when they defeated group leaders Cameroon 4-0. The Soviets lost their other matches and failed to qualify from the group. The Soviet Union qualified for Euro 1992, but the breakup of the Soviet Union meant that their place was instead taken by the CIS national football team. After the tournament, the former Soviet Republics competed as separate independent nations, with FIFA allocating the Soviet team's record to Russia.
(vs North Korea)
Champions Runners-up Third Place Fourth Place
|FIFA World Cup record||Qualification Record|
|1930||Did not enter||Did not enter|
|1978||Did not qualify||4||2||0||2||5||3|
|1982||Second Group Stage||7th||5||2||2||1||7||4||Squad||8||6||2||0||20||2|
|1986||Round of 16||10th||4||2||1||1||12||5||Squad||8||4||2||2||13||8|
Champions Runners-up Third Place Fourth Place
|UEFA European Championship record||Qualification Record|
|1976||Did not qualify||8||4||1||3||12||10|
|1992||Dissolved and replaced by CIS national football team||8||5||3||0||13||2|
|1896–1912||Preceded with Russia|
|1920–1948||Did not enter|
|1960||Did not qualify|
|Since 1976||succeeded with Olympic team|
Most capped Soviet players
The following statistic is based on the statistic published in Sovetskiy Sport of December 1991.
|Venue||City||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||GF||GA||Points per game|
|Central Lenin Stadium||Moscow||1956–1992||78||50||18||10||151||50||2.15|
|Lenin Dynamo Stadium||Tbilisi||1967–1987||10||6||1||3||19||9||1.9|
|Central Lokomotiv Stadium||Moscow||1979–1988||2||2||0||0||5||1||3|
|Black Sea Shipping Stadium||Odessa||1974||1||0||0||1||0||1||0|
| European champions
1960 (first title)
The 1960 European Nations' Cup Final was a football match at the Parc des Princes, Paris on 10 July 1960, to determine the winner of the 1960 European Nations' Cup. It was the first UEFA European Football Championship final, UEFA's top football competition for national teams. The match was contested by the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.1964 European Nations' Cup Final
The 1964 European Nations' Cup Final was a football match played on 21 June 1964 to determine the winner of the 1964 European Nations' Cup. The match was contested by the 1960 winners, the Soviet Union, and the hosts, Spain, at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid. Spain won the match 2–1, with goals coming from Jesús María Pereda and Marcelino. Galimzyan Khusainov scored for the Soviet Union.Aleksandr Ponomarev
Oleksandr Ponomariov (Russian: Александр Семёнович Пономарёв; Ukrainian: Олександр Семенович Пономарьов 23 April 1918 – 7 June 1973) was a Soviet Ukrainian football player and manager.Anatoliy Byshovets
Anatoliy Fedorovich Byshovets (Russian: Анатолий Фёдорович Бышовец; born 23 April 1946) is a Soviet-Russian football manager and former Soviet international striker. He played his entire professional career with club side Dynamo Kyiv. He won Olympic gold as a coach with the Soviet team at the 1988 Summer Olympics. He was also a manager of the USSR, Russia, and South Korea national teams. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he managed the South Korean U-23 team. He is one of the most successful modern Russian coaches.Boris Arkadyev
Boris Andreyevich Arkadyev (Russian: Бори́с Андре́евич Арка́дьев; 21 September 1899 – 17 October 1986) was a Russian footballer and a coach. He became the first coach of the Soviet Union national football team. Merited Master of Sports of the USSR (1942), Merited Coach of the USSR (1957).
Among teams of masters that he coached are included Metallurg Moscow (1937–1939), Dinamo Moscow (1940–1944), CDSA Moscow (1944–1952), Lokomotiv Moscow (1953–1957 and 1963–1965), CSK MO Moscow (1958–1959), Neftyanık Baku (1961–1962), Paxtakor Tashkent (1967), Neftyanik Fergana (1968) and FC Shinnik Yaroslavl (1969).
He also was a coach of the Soviet Union Olympic football team in 1952. In 1952 he had his title Merited Master of Sports of the USSR stripped, but it was reinstated back in 1955.
Boris had a twin brother Vitaliy Arkadiev (1899-1987) who was Merited Coach of the USSR in fencing.Eduard Malofeyev
Eduard Vassilievich Malofeyev (Russian: Эдуа́рд Васи́льевич Малофе́ев, IPA: [məlɐˈfʲeɪf], Belarusian: Эдуард Васілевіч Малафееў Eduard Malafyeyew; born 2 June 1942 in Kolomna) is a Soviet and Belarusian football coach and former international player of Russian origin.Despite being born and grown in Russian SFSR, Malofeyev rose to prominence in Belarus, having scored over 100 goals in Soviet Top League for Dinamo Minsk. He is widely regarded as one of the best Belarusian coaches in history as he led Dinamo Minsk to the team's only Soviet champions title, and coached Belarus national football team in one of their most successful major competition qualifying campaigns.Gavriil Kachalin
Gavriil Dmitriyevich Kachalin (Russian: Гавриил Дмитриевич Качалин; 17 January 1911 – 23 May 1995) was a Soviet/Russian football player and coach.
He led the USSR national football team to their greatest achievements, Olympics gold medals in 1956 and European Football Championship title in 1960, and also coached them in three World Cups: 1958, 1962 and 1970.
With Kachalin, FC Dinamo Tbilisi won the first Soviet Top League title in their history in 1964 and later finished 3rd twice, in 1971 and in 1972. Kachalin became 3rd again in 1973 with FC Dynamo Moscow.Georgy Glazkov
Georgy Glazkov (Russian: Георгий Фёдорович Глазков) (18 November 1911–18 November 1968) was a Russian football striker and coach.
He spent much of his playing career between 1935 and 1947 at Spartak Moscow although during the Great Patriotic War in 1941 played for Zenit Moscow and MVO Moscow in 1945.At the end of the football career he began a career as coach. In the years 1948-1951 he led Spartak Vilnius, and from June to the end of 1951 managed Spartak Moscow. From 1953 to June 1954 he trained Metalurh Zaporizhya. In 1955 he helped to train the second team of the USSR. From 1955-1959 he held a position of the National Football Coach of the Department of Sports Committee of the USSR. In 1959, he became a coach of the USSR national team and in 1964 he led the youth team of the USSR. In the years 1963-1968 he also worked as a senior coach at FSzM Moscow. He died on November 18 1968 in Moscow.
Glazkov was champion of the USSR in 1936 (junior), 1938, 1939, USSR Championship bronze medalist in 1936, 1940, winner of the USSR Cup in 1938, 1939, 1946, 1947 and USSR Cup finalist in 1945. He was also bronze medalist in the First Division of the USSR in 1949 and 1950 as a coach.German Zonin
German Semyonovich Zonin (Russian: Герман Семёнович Зонин; born 9 September 1926 in Kazan) is a retired Soviet Russian football coach and player.Mikhail Yakushin
Mikhail Iosifovich Yakushin (Russian: Михаил Иосифович Якушин; 15 November 1910 in Moscow – 3 February 1997 in Moscow) was a Russian football and field hockey player, later a manager of Dynamo Moscow and the USSR.
Yakushin played football for Moscow clubs STS (1928–1929), SKiG (1931–1933), and Dynamo (1933–1944). He scored one goal in his three international matches for the Soviet national team. In the 1930s he also played field hockey for Dynamo, favoring hockey to football.
As a manager, he coached Dynamo Moscow from 1944 to 1950 and from 1953 to 1960, winning six Soviet titles (1945, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959). He was the head coach of the USSR national football team in 1959 and from 1967 to 1968.Nikolai Petrovich Morozov
Nikolai Petrovich Morozov (Russian: Николай Петрович Морозов; 25 August 1916 – 13 October 1981) was a Russian football coach, who led the USSR national football team to a fourth-place finish in the 1966 FIFA World Cup.Soviet Union Olympic football team
The Soviet Union Olympic football team was the national football team of the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1990. The team participated in most of the qualification football tournaments for Summer Olympics. Until 1992, when age restrictions were officially introduced, the Soviet Union fielded its reserves in qualification tournaments, while in the finals the first team participated. Starting from 1990 the Soviet Union national under-21 football team participated in the Olympic qualifying competitions.Soviet Union national under-16 football team
The Soviet national junior football team was the under-16 (continental competitions) and under-17 (world competitions) football team of the Soviet Union. It ceased to exist on the breakup of the Union.
Following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions in 1982, the USSR Under-16 team was formed. The competition has been held since 1982. From 1982 to 2001 it was an Under-16 event. The team had a good record, winning the competition once, reaching the final twice, but failing to qualify for the last six on 10 occasions.
The team has participated in FIFA U-16 World Championship only once – in 1987 – after being qualified from European Under-16 championship as a runner-up. USSR won it in a final game against Nigeria by penalties. The team gained the Fair Play award. Yuriy Nikiforov scored 5 goals on the tournament but FIFA awarded the Golden Boot to Moussa Traoré because Côte d'Ivoire had scored fewer goals than USSR.
After the dissolution of the USSR (on December 26, 1991), the senior team played out its remaining fixtures, which were the finals of Euro 92. Because the USSR U-16s had, by December 26, already failed to qualify for their version of the 1992 European Championship, the former Soviet states didn't play as a combined team at U-17 level ever again.
Of the former Soviet states, only Russia entered the 1992–1993 competition. However, the Russian U-16 team should not be considered as a continuation of this team; a large percentage of the team's players came from outside Russia (Russia still provided the most). A total of 15 former Soviet states play international football today; 11 in Europe under UEFA, 4 in Asia under the AFC.Soviet Union national under-20 football team
The Soviet national lads (youth) football team was a special under-18 football team of the Soviet Union designated specifically for FIFA World Youth Championship (today FIFA U-20 World Cup). It ceased to exist on the breakup of the Union.
The team was created in 1977 for the newly created FIFA competition for junior teams (among lads, under-18).
With dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union youth under-18 football team competed at the 1992 UEFA European Under-18 Championship as the CIS youth under-18 football team which qualified for the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship. That berth was passed over (grandfathered) to the Russia national under-20 football team.Soviet Union women's national football team
The USSR women's national football team represented the Soviet Union in international women's football. The team was controlled by the Football Federation of USSR. It was founded in 1990, so it was a short-lived national team due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union the following year. Oleg Lapshin served as the team's coach during its 20 months of existence.UEFA Euro 1972 Final
The UEFA Euro 1972 Final was a football match played on 18 June 1972 to determine the winner of UEFA Euro 1972. The match was contested by West Germany and the Soviet Union, fighting for its second title in the tournament, at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels. The Germans won the match 3–0, with goals coming from Gerd Müller (twice) and Herbert Wimmer.UEFA Euro 1988 Final
The UEFA Euro 1988 Final was a football match played on 25 June 1988 to determine the winner of UEFA Euro 1988. The match was contested by the Soviet Union, playing in what would turn out to be the nation's last European Championship, and the Netherlands at the Olympiastadion in Munich. The Dutch won the match 2–0, with goals coming from captain Ruud Gullit, a header in the first half and tournament top scorer Marco van Basten. At 2-0, Hans van Breukelen saved a penalty from Igor Belanov, a penalty that he had given away for bringing down Sergey Gotsmanov.Van Basten's goal, in which he volleyed right-footed over Rinat Dasayev from the tightest of angles on the right of the penalty area from Arnold Muhren's looping ball from the left, would later be described as one of the greatest goals in the history of the European Championships.Valentin Nikolayev (footballer)
Valentin Aleksandrovich Nikolayev (Russian: Валентин Александрович Николаев; August 16, 1921 in Yerosovo, Vladimir Governorate – October 9, 2009 in Moscow) was a Soviet football player and coach.Yury Morozov (footballer, born 1934)
Yury Andreyevich Morozov (Russian: Ю́рий Андре́евич Моро́зов; 13 May 1934 – 15 February 2005) was one of the best football coaches from the Soviet Union.
He made his name as a midfielder in the 1950s and 1960s with his hometown clubs FC Zenit, Admiralteyets and FC Dinamo Leningrad, earning himself a call-up to the USSR 'B' team.
He retired from playing at the age of 31 and worked at FC Zenit's youth academy and became a dean of football science at the Lesgaft Academy of Physical Education. He then joined Valery Lobanovsky's USSR coaching staff, assisting the famous coach at the 1976 Olympics, where they won bronze, and in their run to the 1988 UEFA European Championship final. He also worked with Lobanovsky at clubs in the Middle East at the helm of the Kuwaiti national side.
In 1977, having previously been part of the coachings staff at Spartak Moscow, he took on his first head coach's job with former club Zenit leading them to third place in the Soviet Supreme League in 1980, their highest-ever finish at the time. He had three spells as head coach at FC Zenit over a 15-year period and in 1984 the team he built became Soviet champions for the only time. He left the club for the final time in 2002 due to ill health but returned to coaching at FC Petrotrest St. Peterburg.
|Manager||Nation||Years||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||GF||GA||Win %||Qualifying cycle||Final tour|
|Gavriil Kachalin||1955–1958||34||22||6||6||88||35||64.71||1956(o), 1958, 1960||1956(o), 1958|
|Gavriil Kachalin||1960–1962||22||16||2||4||49||20||72.73||1962||1960, 1962|
|Mikhail Yakushin||1967–1968||28||16||7||5||51||31||57.14||1968, 1968(o)||1968|
|Aleksandr Ponomarev||1972||15||8||4||3||27||17||53.33||1972(o), 1972|
|Nikita Simonyan||1977–1979||27||18||4||5||60||22||66.67||1978, 1980|
|Konstantin Beskov||1979–1982||28||17||8||3||54||19||60.71||1980, 1982||1982|
|Morozov and Mosyagin||1988||4||1||2||1||5||5||25|
|1st Coaching Staff||1988–1990||31||16||6||9||42||29||51.61||1990||1988, 1990|
|2nd Coaching Staff||1990–1992||28||12||11||5||39||24||42.86||1992||1992|
|Recognised as defunct by FIFA|
|Teams whose names and borders|
both differ from the present
Soviet Union squads – FIFA World Cup
Soviet Union squads – UEFA European Championship